Do holidays feel stressful or leave you worrying about your health? Not anymore! This article takes you through a few tips on how to stay healthy and well during the holidays. Follow these simple healthy holiday tips and enjoy the best of the season.
1. Adopt a positive mindset
A positive mindset is a natural stress reliever. Over the holidays, it’s easy to complain because of the weather, money, work, and other disappointments. Instead of complaining, take some time to meditate[i], and feel grateful in the moment. Appreciate and be thankful for all the little things that are going in well in your life right now. Gratitude is the best healthy holiday tip of all.
2. Avoid overindulgence
Unfortunately, this is the season when a lot of us eat too much food and ruin our bodies by January. If you don’t know what to eat, my best holiday eating tip is to eat LESS than you would ordinarily. Overindulgence makes us sluggish and lethargic and it further exacerbates conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, and high blood pressure. It can even be lethal as it increases your risk of having a heart attack.
Alcohol is a toxin to your organs and puts you at increased risk for serious accidents. You need to be watchful of everything you take in during this period.
You’re probably taking time off from your work or school during the holidays and this is a good thing. However, you shouldn’t laze around the house all day watching TV. Staying active is another healthy holiday tip you cannot afford to ignore. Get out and walk. Walking is one of the best exercises for maintaining your health. Without it, you’ll likely gain weight over the holidays and feel bad about it in the New Year. If you walk regularly, you’ll improve your blood sugar, blood pressure[ii], and your mood. If your health permits, exercises like swimming, cycling, running, etc. could take you from feeling terribly out of shape to truly fit. Start slow and work your way up.
4. Manage your finances
Money can be a major stressor for individuals and families. Financial pressures promote, anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Remember, people don’t require expensive gifts to know that you care about them. Ensure your finances are well planned and you’ll feel amazing. Stick to your budget, and even if you blew it, no worries. Tis’ the season for changing your mind and returning misguided purchases for a refund.
Holidays are meant for making memories with others. We are social creatures and studies show that quality relationships are absolutely essential for longevity and wellness. Social isolation can actually diminish your health rapidly and shorten your lifespan, literally.[iii] Hang out with family, friends, and neighbors often.
The caveat here, though, is that being social is not an excuse to ignore your holiday eating choices. If you take your health as a top priority, you won’t feel too shy rejecting what isn’t good for you.
When searching for how to stay healthy over the holidays, understand that health and wellness is not merely the absence of disease. Being healthy involves your mental, physical, financial, and social well-being. These healthy holiday tips are only useful if apply them and enjoy a truly memorable celebration.
[i] Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858. Accessed December 7, 2018.
[ii] Exercise: A drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045206 Accessed December 7, 2018.
[iii] Archer, D. Loneliness and Death. Psychology Today Website. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201504/loneliness-and-death Accessed December 19, 2018.
Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a physician, health coach, workplace wellness consultant, and speaker. She helps people heal themselves with food. Through wellness workshops and courses, she helps companies create healthy, energetic teams.
5 Ways to Boost Your Energy
>> Nutritious foods that increase energy
>> Tips for waking up well-rested
>> Lifestyle changes to help you feel vibrant & alive